The 7 Things You’ll Experience That Weren’t on the Phlebotomy Job Description

Every open position needs a job description. But when you read that phlebotomy job description, you’re not getting the whole story. What are your employers not telling you about a job before you’re hired?

Most jobs are much more complex than what is listed on a job posting.  Phlebotomy positions are no different.  Working as a phlebotomist isn’t always easy. You will have challenges that will help you grow both personally and professionally.  There are any number of things you might experience while working as a phlebotomist that will range from good to bad to ugly.  Here are 7 situations that are not included in the phlebotomist’s job description:

What you won’t see on your phlebotomy job description

1. Emotional attachment

When working as a health care provider, you encounter all types people. You are fortunate when you care for patients who are calm and friendly. However, you may develop a degree of emotional attachment to these types of patients.  When you care for people on a regular basis, this type of attachment is not uncommon. Emotional attachment is very often seen in nurses and physicians, as well. Healthcare providers report that they become emotional when they see their patient’s condition change. They feel happiness when their patient recovers and they grieve when a tragic event happens.

2. Encounters with difficult patients and family members

Although many patients are friendly and accommodating, others can be downright rude.  Since you may not know the reasons for a patient’s behavior, keep in mind that you must always behave as a professional. Remember to explain the procedure you will perform and ask the patient if they have any questions or concerns.  This will help to alleviate some of the fear that may cause your patient to behave in an unpleasant manner.

3. Keeping up with kids

Many phlebotomists have lots of funny stories about encounters with children. Children can provide humor, but they can also be a source of frustration.  Children may cry, run, or scream when it comes time for a blood draw.  If you aren’t accustomed to caring for sick children, this can be a particularly challenging situation.

4. Untold feelings

Phlebotomists can encounter situations where a patient imposes their frustration and anger with the situation on the healthcare provider.  While it may be difficult to accept that an upset or frustrated patient is not actually upset or angry with you, it is critical that phlebotomists remember that patients are often going through a stressful situation.  Conversely, a phlebotomist may have a frustrating day at work and transfer those feelings into an interaction with a patient.  Remembering that the interaction is about helping the patient and being a professional at all times will help get through these difficult feelings.

5. Watching grown men squirm (and sometimes faint)

The most profound experience that one phlebotomist encountered was drawing the blood of a large young man who was soldier that had been asked by the physician to undergo laboratory procedures. The phlebotomist was shocked when suddenly, while doing venipuncture, the man became pale and immediately fainted as he saw his own blood. As a phlebotomist, it is your responsibility to assess, explain, and to calm your client before doing any procedure.

6. Negligence

In the health industry, medical errors are always a looming threat.  You must clearly identify your patient and perform the correct procedure every time. Healthcare providers can be sued for negligence because of failure of identifying the right patient before doing a procedure. Additionally, there is the added liability risk for breaches in patient privacy.  HIPPA laws make it illegal to discuss patient care with anyone other than members of the medical team who have a need to know. Phlebotomists must always follow protocol during procedures and be aware of regulations and laws that pertain to patient safety and security.

7. Ignorance

As a Phlebotomist, you may encounter patients, family members, and even other healthcare providers who are ignorant to your profession.  You will have to educate people constantly about what it is that you do and the part that you play on the healthcare team.  Even medical professionals will have some vague idea of the duties of the phlebotomist, but they may need to be educated as to what you can and cannot do within the scope of your position.

A career in phlebotomy is absolutely a rewarding choice.  However, like every job, it comes with its challenges.   If you are aware of some of the potential unexpected encounters you may have on the job, you will be much better prepared to meet the challenges head-on.  While not everything can be listed in a job posting, you are a professional and can handle any unexpected situation that may arise.

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